SHANGHAI, May 24 (Reuters) - China stocks ended higher on Monday, helped by gains in financial firms, but caution prevailed as investors waited for key U.S. inflation readings for guidance on monetary policy.
** The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.4%, to 5,155.59, while the Shanghai Composite Index firmed 0.3% to 3,497.28.
** Leading the gains, the CSI SWS securities index rose 1.9%, helping push up the CSI300 financials index by 0.5%.
** Ample liquidity, falling interest rates and commodities prices, as well as China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies, bode well for securities stocks, TF Securities said in a report.
** The brokerage noted a marked deviation between earnings growth and valuations in the sector, saying the deviation is not in line with China’s new position on the country’s capital markets.
** Investors were treading carefully ahead of U.S. personal consumption and inflation figures this week.
** The calendar also includes a host of Fed speakers, including influential Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard, and markets will be keen to hear if they stick to the script on being patient with policy.
** Resources stocks remained under pressure, with the CSI A-share resource industries index down 0.8%.
** China’s market regulators warned industrial metal companies to maintain “normal market order” during talks on significant gains in metals prices this year, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Monday.
** Digital currency and block-chain related stocks also weakened, after China vowed to crack down on bitcoin mining and trading activities.
** Cryptocurrency mining operators, including Huobi Mall and BTC.TOP, are suspending their China operations after Beijing’s move. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)